A few moments within a shop revealed a great deal to me. I stood trying to mind my own business at the back while other customers were waiting for orders. To the side of me was a young couple with their daughter. The little girl seemed a bight soul and was questioning her father about his work and was clearly concerned about the fact that might well be spending some time away.
She asked him "Why do you have to work away?". He bent down to he and replied "Daddy WANTS to work at sites up and down the country so daddy can make lots of money". For a moment she was quiet as she thought over his words "Why do you want earn more money?" she said drawing out her words as if carefully considering her question.
"Thats because mummy & daddy WANT a better life when you are older," he replied quickly.
"I don't want you to be away, can I come with you?" she asked looking a little upset. "No you can't come with me," was his quick response.
Glancing over to the family I decided to draw on the unsaid and finish a fuller picture. They were all wearing good quality or even designer clothes and adornments. In many ways I would expect the mother & daughter to take time & pride in their appearance, but the father was also well groomed with neatly trimmed and gelled hair and a silver stud earring to match the shining frames of his modern spectacles. To complete the image of the family I was aware of the aroma of perfume & deodorant, nothing overpowering but clearly the prospect of body odour was not considered acceptable with them. Perhaps the family were as affluent as they appeared to be or perhaps like so many they desired to be seen as affluent and created the look by spending more than they should.
The fathers words sat uncomfortably with me and I wondered what meanings his daughter would take from them, from the conversation I caught it gave the impression they were not fully satisfied with what they had and that the need of money was more important than a father spending time with his daughter. Doubtless there is a bigger picture to this brief snap shot of early twenty first century family life, but I have seen such scenes before and I am inclined to think that it is normal within society to be like this.
Yet again I am left as the barbarian wandering off into the darkness feeling enlightened but also a bystander to aspects I find awkward.